Today Mr. Wright and I had a talk with the fifth and sixth graders about internet use and safety, and I thought I'd pass some of that information on to you.
Much of what we're doing in our classes these days has a technology component, which is an integral aspect of learning in any 21st Century classroom, but with this increased access comes the potential for harm. In addition to the wealth of useful and educational information available to children, much content exists that is most certainly not appropriate for them.
Children are susceptible to a variety of dangers when using computers without supervision, including pornography, hate group or racist websites, promotional websites (advertising or promoting tobacco, alcohol, etc), graphic violence, as well as other information that children are ill equipped to handle. We all know the added danger of exploitation or enticement of children by internet predators. By its very nature, online interaction facilitates deception about the predator's identity, age, and intentions.
That being said, we assured the students (and reminded them, too) that the school filters are excellent, and that those sites that have the potential for harm are not accessable here. In fact, it is easy to detect who, when, and where someone might be trying (in vain) to access inappropriate information. (I will tell you that some of our students admitted to knowing how to erase the history on their computers at home so that their internet use is kept secret. This is definitely a red flag....)
I'm always looking for information to share with all of you, and found a quick and simple way to help you to make your children's internet experience safe, educational, and fun. Check out tips for parents or, for those of you who, like me, have a million questions, check out parent information. These wonderful kids are the responsibility of us all, and I assure you that I will continue to monitor and educate as we explore the internet's great potential.
Have a safe and enjoyable winter break. I'll be in touch soon.
PS: This short video was shown in a course I recently took, and I thought you might be intrigued. It sure does provide food for thought...